Author(s): Boccola MA
BACKGROUND: Anastomotic leakage is associated with high mortality, high reoperation rate, and increased hospital length of stay. Although many studies have examined the risk factors for anastomotic leak, large prospective series that report on long-term survival rates are lacking.
METHODS: Data of 1576 patients who underwent primary resection and anastomosis for colorectal adenocarcinoma at a single institution from 1984 to 2004 were prospectively collected. Anastomotic leaks (LEK) were classified as radiological (RAD), local (LOC), or generalised (GEN). Logistic regression analysis of 21 variables was undertaken. Overall survival, cancer-related survival, and disease-free survival were analysed using the Kaplan-Meier method.
RESULTS: Mean age of the patients was 67 years (SD = 12.5) and 834 (52.9%) were male. An LEK was more likely when relatively major gynaecological (tubo-oophorectomy, P = 0.004; hysterectomy, P = 0.006) or urological (total cystectomy, P = 0.014) procedures were performed during the same operative session. Other significant factors were anterior resection (P < 0.001), anastomosis using an intraluminal stapling device (P = 0.005), abdominal drain via laparoscopic port (P = 0.024), postoperative blood transfusion (P < 0.001), primary cancer site at the rectum (P = 0.016), and TNM stage of T2 or higher (P = 0.026). Having an LEK showed significant impact on overall (P = 0.021), cancer-related (P = 0.006), and disease-free (P = 0.001) survival.
CONCLUSION: In this prospective study, advanced tumour stage, distal site, and need for postoperative blood transfusion were associated with increased rates of anastomotic leakage. In addition to their high risk of immediate postoperative morbidity and mortality, both localized and generalized leaks had similarly negative impacts on overall, cancer-related, and disease-free survival.